NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Local homeowners didn't hold back any punches Saturday morning when asked to share their views and complaints about Cherry Grove's proposed dredging project.
That project is set to start in the fall, but not everyone is on board with the plan. "I just don't think it's fair," said homeowner of 25 years, Tim Ammons. "I think that we should, that live there, bear the majority of the burden, but not the entire burden," Ammons said.
These homeowners may have to do just that. North Myrtle Beach has invested $1.25 million and says it will invest another $1.6 million moving forward.
The rest of the 13 million dollar project will come out of the pockets of only those homeowners on the canals. The city says other taxpayers shouldn't have to pay since the dredge doesn't benefit them. "For you folks to think that the rest of the community is not benefitting from this is just idiocy, please don't think that," exclaimed Ammons when he took the microphone.
"You have to look at the channels the same way you look at other areas of infrastructure within the community," said Sheila Pope, another homeowner. Pope says she stood up and spoke today because this project will change her family's lifestyle. She lives out of town, so she already has to pay higher taxes for her home in the Cherry Grove area. Pope says if only the homeowners pay for the project, she may no longer be able to afford living there. "A lot of people, ourselves included, simply won't be able to maintain our homes because we will effectively be taxed out of them," she said.
Right now, the next expected step is to establish the special tax assessment district next month. Homeowners will be able to appeal that.
There was one other thing that had homeowners up in arms at the meeting. The city says some people are being ruled exempt from paying for the dredging unless they sign up for it.
Some of the homes that won't have to pay are on the main channel and at the end of the finger channels. The city says the dredging shouldn't reach them so they shouldn't have to pay for it.